Recently, I’ve been reading a plethora of travel blogs, longing to go back to the craziness that I’ve come to love in Southeast Asia.
I’ve found myself reading up on safety lately. Well, maybe not so much safety, but the stories of when people were lacking safety. Stupid stories that I can’t help but binge on, like reality TV.
I’ve been lucky whilst traveling and haven’t found myself in any really awful situations, yet I’ve still been able to experience the “crazy” culture of SE Asia. I’m a believer in the idea that you should experience as much as you absolutely can (even the stupid things), but safety shouldn’t be overlooked.
Let’s talk partying.
I am nineteen years old, recently legal (in most of the world… thanks US). I like to have fun; I like to have stories to tell. That being said, I am not interested in being mugged or murdered or scammed out of all of my money. I’m also not so keen on being thrown into jail, or missing a flight or bus or train.
I have some rules for myself to follow, just to ensure that I don’t end up dead. Or inconvenienced. If you want to party smart, read on.
1. Beware of the buckets!!!
Those damn buckets. You can find ’em all over Southeast Asia. I had my first bucket in Saigon, and many to follow from then on. They’re literally buckets of mixed drinks, usually incredibly cheap. Share them or have your own; just be careful with them. Once you have one, there’s no turning back! Pace yourself.
2. Never walk home alone
I’ve been lucky to live in Singapore. I can walk home alone at any hour, wearing anything, in any state. I wouldn’t advise that, but it’s totally possible and very safe in the Little Red Dot. In other parts of Southeast Asia, however, walking alone at night is probably not the smartest idea. Walk in a group for safety! As much as this may scream “solo female travel,” men should also be careful. You’re much less likely to be attacked or harassed if you are with others; even one other person makes a difference!
3. Don’t be annoying travelers.
Don’t pee anywhere that isn’t a designated toilet. Don’t shout and swear at the top of your lungs. Don’t start fights. Don’t touch random people or use any rude gestures. This may sound like common sense, but people are not so self aware when tipsy and could always use a little reminder 🙂
4. The drug issue
There are plenty of travelers who go to Southeast Asia for the easy accessibility to drugs, specifically weed, shrooms, and opium, although apparently it’s pretty easy to get whatever you desire. Tuk tuk drivers may ask you if you want to buy weed, and if you say no, they’ll offer you cocaine. Do drugs or don’t, I’m not your mother, but if you do decide to partake in recreational drugs, know the consequences. You’re considered lucky if you’re caught and get away with a $600 fine. You could be thrown in jail or worse. Police are corrupt in many countries, and a heavy fine to bribe them could be the easiest and safest out. Be careful and know the potential outcomes of partaking in illegal activities.
5. Don’t bring too much money on nights out
Only take out a little bit of cash. You won’t be able to buy countless buckets, and if you are asked for all of your money (aka if you’re low-key mugged), you’ll lose out on less than if you brought your entire wallet.
Make sure you know your way home, or just stick with the people you’re with, as bringing out little money also means no taxi ride home if you get utterly lost.
I don’t think you should compensate fun in the fear of being unsafe! There are definitely good ways to have fun and bad ones, so try to stick with good (and safe) ones. I find that the best nights out are when you meet the most people and strengthen your ties with the travelers you do know. Have a wonderful time, make tons of memories, but always always always stay safe!